All posts tagged Kyoto

Waiting For Orpheus

Published September 13, 2013 by rlmcdermott

I waited for someone
who never came–
a woman in black
sitting beneath a paper tree

I saw an old man and his wife
the woman was bent like a harp
he had played her for years
black notes falling from her spine
a song sung over and over until
she disappeared inside her bones

this is the price of love
the fine white powder
of her back scattering
with the white blossoms
falling from the trees
the sap of his bitterness
sealing her fate

this is the garden where I remember my life

blue flowers on a red blouse
the sweet smiles of lost friends
the geometry of an old woman’s back
white cherry blossoms and a stone bench
a little girl who could not be loved
a woman who could not stop loving

the poem in my heart
has no words–it waits
for them like I wait
for you in a Kyoto garden
beneath a painted moonWaiting For Orpheus


Published April 4, 2013 by rlmcdermott

inside this lonely
of painted moons
and paper trees

I’m grateful
for the friendship
you’ve given me

you are a god
and I’m kithara

you play me
and I sing

a year ago
we met
or didn’t meet
beside a blossoming cherry tree

you turned your head and looked at me

and I saw everything I couldn’t be

but what I am is more than you can bear
the face of love
the face of death
a song without a singer
a wing without a bird
a poem written in the sand

we love
a different way than most
I let you go
you keep me close
we speak and never speak
we touch and never meet

who will ever love you quite like this

my gift to you is me
and that is all I’ll ever beRoses

Kyoto Botanical Garden

Published June 1, 2012 by rlmcdermott

What kind of trees
were they that
broke the color–

all tall and green
and dancing
in the slow sunlight
of an April afternoon?

Women in blue
kimonos stood
beneath the
delicate branches
snapping pictures
digital and bright.

Children played,
young mother’s
strolled, stooped
old men finished
with their lives
sat on stone benches.

An artist crouched
in a flower bed
like a wounded animal;
linen canvas stained
with a furious red.

I had come here to meet a
god and found instead a man.

We are not seen by the people we love,
but are loved by the people who see us.

That afternoon,
five thousand miles
from my home,
someone saw me
and asked where
I was from in
perfect English.